Comfortably Numb

I will turn 29 next Friday.  The age seems important, although I can’t figure out exactly why.  Because it’s the last year of my twenties, perhaps.  Maybe just because it marks the start of another year.

I am afraid because I know that one can have great faith in something or someone and discover, painfully, how wrong one was.  How nothing is ever certain or finally decided.  How we can lose so much so quickly.

I used to think that I would be married and have a baby on the way by now.  It just seemed logical, obvious, assured.  Now that another year of my life is drawing to a close, I am considering how silly it was to think my life would follow a typical course.  I certainly didn’t think I’d be closing in on 30 with no real direction in my life, no great drive to be anywhere or do anything much.  My peers and friends are marrying off and having children, although no one very close to me these days is following a very typical course, either.  My close friends don’t have regular work weeks, or spouses, or mortgages, or salaries, or retirement funds.  I fit right in with the misfits.

I always thought I was destined for greatness of some sort.  I am, so they tell me, attractive, intelligent, clever and funny and talented.  Blessed.  It seems such a waste that I should be doing so little with any of it.  I have created nothing worthwhile or lasting.  I’ve done nothing very noble or grand.  I have always been told that I have great potential, but I’m not inclined any longer to strive toward anything much.  I don’t feel particularly interested in or passionate about anything.  I’m bored and aimless and oddly indifferent to it all.  I don’t care, and I don’t care that I don’t care.

Maybe this new year will bring change.  Maybe I’ll discover forgotten or unknown passion for something– anything.  Maybe I’ll get shaken up enough to do something interesting with my life.  I hope whatever’s coming isn’t too painful.  I’d like inspiration, not panic, to be my motivator this year.

I hope.

2 thoughts on “Comfortably Numb

  1. I find that inspiration is the kind of thing that shows up more often when I’m working on something than when I’m not doing anything. Boredom isn’t a state of mind that’s particularly conducive to generating creativity.

    Don’t worry about your potential or about where you ought to be. I guess you seem to know that already, but it’s worth repeating. For myself, the potential I displayed in my youth, and the way everyone talked about it all the time, that was one of the biggest things holding me back. There’s a line from John Irving’s “Hotel New Hampshire” that summed it up nicely:

    “I’m glad you have confidence in me,” Lilly said, “but whenever I read the ending of The Great Gatsby, I have my doubts. I mean, that’s just so beautiful,” Lilly said. “I think that if I can’t ever write an ending that perfect, then there’s no point in beginning a book either. There’s no point in writing a book if you don’t think it can be as good as The Great Gatsby. I mean, it’s all right if you fail–if the finished book just isn’t, somehow, very good–but you have to believe it can be very good before you start. And sometimes that damn ending to The Great Gatsby just wipes me out before I can get started,” Lilly said . . .

    There have been too many times in my life that I’ve felt just like that, I think because somehow I felt that I had the potential to do something as great as writing The Great Gatsby, but I didn’t know how. Doing nothing was easier, though less satisfying.

    It’s all bullshit, though. The only thing that matters is doing something, whether or not it’s any good.

    I don’t say this to try to push you in any particular direction, because I think that there’s meaning and contentment to be found in lots of places, even in passivity. But it sounds to me like you’re not content, and if that’s the case then maybe you should do something about it. Just do something, create something, anything, even if it’s dumb. You never know where it will take you, but at least it will take you somewhere.

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